What mower to replace my MTD?

Messages
1,644
Location
San Antonio, Texas
I've owned a MTD 46" cut w/16HP engine for almost 20 years. It's been a good work horse cutting my 1 acre of Texas hill country land. It's very rocky/rough. It's tired, and I'm getting old. It requires a LOT of effort to steer. I'm looking to replace it with something that will make mowing not as hard on my old body. Recommendations? I'd like something that will last me another 20... Mandatory BITOG content: I've been changing the oil/filter over the years regularly and the oil is still clean looking! smile
 
Messages
6,477
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted By: sasilverbullet
Recommendations? I'd like something that will last me another 20...
I'd say a John Deere from the DEALER. One with a Kawasaki engine and well built transmission. There aren't too many mowers out there that will last 20 years sadly. The John Deere will at least have parts availability for the next 20 years. I had to get a few parts for a 1970s John Deere tractor. I walked into the dealership and they had them in stock!
 
Messages
2,053
Location
Sequim, WA
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
Originally Posted By: sasilverbullet
Recommendations? I'd like something that will last me another 20...
I'd say a John Deere from the DEALER. One with a Kawasaki engine and well built transmission. There aren't too many mowers out there that will last 20 years sadly. The John Deere will at least have parts availability for the next 20 years. I had to get a few parts for a 1970s John Deere tractor. I walked into the dealership and they had them in stock!
Yup, John Deere X series. They have a 16-20 year design life, as opposed to the 5-8 year design life of the JD D series and other big box brand offerings. The 310 and 360 have power steering and deck lift. The 360 steps you up in power and adds a heavy duty transmission. The steering effort on the manual models is low. Ed
 
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7,778
Location
Oklahoma
You probably want a ZTR type of steering system. they are hydraulically assisted and would be easier turning into a hill with no power assist.
 
Messages
8,051
Location
Michigan
You've done a great job getting an MTD to go 20 years. Mine hit 10 years last year, and I spent a lot of time working on it, fixing the steering, replacing belts, etc. It seems like MTD's are designed to go 10 years. The engine is still good (17.5 HP Briggs one-lunger). I used it to mow my 2 acres in Battle Creek, and have moved it to mow my new 1 acre plot in Lapeer. Hopefully it will go another ten years.
 
Messages
809
Location
Nebraska
In no particular order... Hustler, Scag, or Deere. What *quality* dealers are close by? That would be a concern for me. If the Hustler dealer is 15 minutes away but Deere is over an hour, I'd go Hustler.
 
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3,870
Location
NEUS
Get a professional grade zero turn. My local shop has several brands and claims the Ferris mowers are the only ones that don't come back for frequent service.
 
Messages
2,535
Location
Nowthen, MN
First thing first.....What is your budget? All of the above are great recommendations, but you aren't going to come close to touching them with an MTD budget.
 
Messages
750
Location
MN
How much do you want to spend is very important. If we're talking $2-3000 your pretty much limited to big box brands.
 
Messages
15,859
Location
NE,Ohio
If you are mechanically inclined on a low budget a JD 300 or 400 series with power steering and full hydro usually go around 2000$ chances are they are selling it for a reason though. We mowed 12-15acres with a jd316 for 20 years. In the early 90's it was 20acres. Its recently needed extra work.. so it now has a partner a jd850. The bad part about working on older deere tractors is half the tractor has to come apart to fix it sometimes. The spindles on my 1981 JD212 (12hp) make the ~~1999?~~Heavy Duty Craftsman gt6000 spindles look tiny and fragile. if you have a 5000$ budget you can get something new that will hold up. Almost all the new tractors <2000$ are tin foil and will bend and fall apart and not be worth fixing. Something will bend and your steering will be off center, or the deck wont hang evenly.. belt will start flying off randomly screws fall out all over. looking at 5-8 year life max before ready for the junkpile.
 
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Messages
3,590
Location
Ohio
Originally Posted By: edhackett
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
Originally Posted By: sasilverbullet
Recommendations? I'd like something that will last me another 20...
I'd say a John Deere from the DEALER. One with a Kawasaki engine and well built transmission. There aren't too many mowers out there that will last 20 years sadly. The John Deere will at least have parts availability for the next 20 years. I had to get a few parts for a 1970s John Deere tractor. I walked into the dealership and they had them in stock!
Yup, John Deere X series. They have a 16-20 year design life, as opposed to the 5-8 year design life of the JD D series and other big box brand offerings. The 310 and 360 have power steering and deck lift. The 360 steps you up in power and adds a heavy duty transmission. The steering effort on the manual models is low. Ed
This. If you can't afford new, find the best used one you can afford.
 
Messages
765
Location
Nebraska
Going get heat for this, but buy another MTD/ Craftsman/ Ariens/ Murray/ Poulan rider. Rear engine mowers will beat you to death and so will most zero turn mowers that don't cost $8,000 plus. Get something you can put new oil in once a year and blow out the air filter. Try to make sure it has wheels on the sides of the deck or can have a wheel kit added. AND (I'm really gonna get heat for this) don't get a hydro IF you're not spending $8,000 plus. If I didn't work on stuff everyday of the year, I would probably opt for (at least) the third or fourth from the bottom of the barrel John Deere instead of the Poulan $999 special I've had for a few years. It's like brand new by the way. My father in law almost cries when he talks about his John Deere he sold when his son bought a $5000 Toro Zero Turn. Put the zero turn in high and it bucks like a bronco.
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
In ordinary homeowner use our 54 inch Craftsman rider is a gem. Under 2k new with a nifty warranty to boot. Eats lawn like a fat kid with candy, and our last el cheapo craftsman had many thousands of hours on it when it got junked. I don't need a commercial mower here. I simply want to mow the few acres I have quickly and efficiently. Ours does exactly that for a very reasonable cost and will last longer than we will keep it...
 
Messages
9,735
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'm probably going to get a homeowner husqvarna 46" or 42" this week. Mostly for the dealer really, but the huskys seem to do OK for a homeowner mower. They do share the same hydro as the dreaded 1 series JD's, but it seems husky sprung for a few internal up grades while JD did not, so the husky seem to last much longer. Other highlights I noticed, husky seems to use ball joints in the steering while many similar MTD's do not. The steering seemed significantly smoother/lighter but you'll have to see if you can find some steering ratio specs on the various mowers. The zero turns and side hills don't seem to be a good idea as I notice at work, they avoid side hills as much as possible.
 

sasilverbullet

Thread starter
Messages
1,644
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Thanks for all the inputs! Been researching all that you guys recommended and I'm leaning towards a JD D170 right now. The 54" deck seems like it should cut some time off the mow. Is the hydrostatic trans. in this thing the same as the el' cheapo brands? There were quite a few comments about fairly new ones having the hydrostatic units locking up.
 
Messages
9,735
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: sasilverbullet
Thanks for all the inputs! Been researching all that you guys recommended and I'm leaning towards a JD D170 right now. The 54" deck seems like it should cut some time off the mow. Is the hydrostatic trans. in this thing the same as the el' cheapo brands? There were quite a few comments about fairly new ones having the hydrostatic units locking up.
It probably is the same unit. Tuff torq k46, I read tuff torq offers upgrades to the basic unit in several different ways, but JD in the past must've just got the basic version as they are the only manufacturer who is getting sued over them failing... My plan is to run it until the warranty is over and then change the fluid to something good and perhaps change the fluid at some time interval. 50, 100hrs? You need to take the unit out of the tractor or maybe get real creative with an extractor? In short, the HST is sealed and odds are, it won't go 20 years without some help. If my lawn didn't call for an HST, I would never get one.
 
Messages
2,053
Location
Sequim, WA
I just looked it up and the X310 has the heavy duty K58 and is fully serviceable (oil and filter). It comes standard with "only" a 42" deck. You will trade a few more passes for more hp per inch and a better cut quality. The local JD dealers here in Washington don't like the 54 inch deck and recommend only the 48 on the 22 hp X series and the 42 on the 18.5 hp models for those of us with a native grass lawn. That's taking into consideration that the Kawasaki engines have significantly more torque than the equivalent Briggs. The 18.5 Kawi has more torque than the 25 Briggs. The X310 will mow circles around a D170 in tall grass. Just a few more things for you to consider. Ed
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: sasilverbullet
Is the hydrostatic trans. in this thing the same as the el' cheapo brands? There were quite a few comments about fairly new ones having the hydrostatic units locking up.
I have researched this a lot and spoke to a tech at Tuff Torq. The units that fail are generally abused or used commercially. VERY simple to remove the entire unit on my tractor and change the oil/clean a magnet off. By switching to M1 15w-50 it is now quiet as a mouse and will probably outlast the rest of the machine. Note that when I looked at Huskys last year they were identical to mine under the orange skin, just several hundred dollars more...
 
Messages
9,070
Location
Illinois
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
I'm probably going to get a homeowner husqvarna 46" or 42" this week. Mostly for the dealer really, but the huskys seem to do OK for a homeowner mower. They do share the same hydro as the dreaded 1 series JD's, but it seems husky sprung for a few internal up grades while JD did not, so the husky seem to last much longer. Other highlights I noticed, husky seems to use ball joints in the steering while many similar MTD's do not. The steering seemed significantly smoother/lighter but you'll have to see if you can find some steering ratio specs on the various mowers. The zero turns and side hills don't seem to be a good idea as I notice at work, they avoid side hills as much as possible.
The biggest junk in consumer grade riding mowers that I've seen was a Husqvarna. I was mowing with one, and the center spindle/hub on the deck simply disintegrated. Made of pot metal and aluminum. Then it took weeks to get a replacement. The steering was horrible, it turned tighter in one direction than in the other. The only reason that it was bought, was that the people's daughter worked at Lowe's... where it came from... and they got a discount on it, when free would have been too much. Even though it was only a few years old, a 30 year old John Deere 314 with a 38" deck would run circles around this thing.
 

sasilverbullet

Thread starter
Messages
1,644
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Originally Posted By: edhackett
I just looked it up and the X310 has the heavy duty K58 and is fully serviceable (oil and filter). It comes standard with "only" a 42" deck. You will trade a few more passes for more hp per inch and a better cut quality. The local JD dealers here in Washington don't like the 54 inch deck and recommend only the 48 on the 22 hp X series and the 42 on the 18.5 hp models for those of us with a native grass lawn. That's taking into consideration that the Kawasaki engines have significantly more torque than the equivalent Briggs. The 18.5 Kawi has more torque than the 25 Briggs. The X310 will mow circles around a D170 in tall grass. Just a few more things for you to consider. Ed
X310 - now that seems to be just what I need! Power steering, yes!
 
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